Happened to be at the Orioles – Nats game yesterday and FINALLY got a chance to get in my all-star ballot. The game was ok. It’s always great to see Adam LaRoche, an old Pirates alum doing his June .174 batting average thing, out on the field. Good times, just like the old days! Anyhoo, thought I’d share my all-star selections with you guys, in case anyone was looking for guidance.
My only rule for myself was simple: be as impartial as possible. There are a lot of deserving players in the majors, and there’s a lot on the line. Given that our Buccos will probably be representing the NL in the World Series, I wanted to do EVERYTHING I could to help secure home-field advantage for the National League!
The FIRST decision I made was NOT to bother voting for American Leaguers. I mean, one more vote for NLers, kind of helps the odds!
So here were my all-NL, totally impartial and objective, choices! Feel free to use these as a guide!
Catcher: This was a bit of a challenge, right off the bat. I mean, the logical choice was Chris Snyder of the Pittsburgh Pirates, but for some reason the other half of the Pittsburgh tandem, Ryan Doumit, wasn’t there! Bit of a problem as I had planned to vote for both of them. Not to worry, I simply got a second ballot and wrote in Doumit! Problem solved!
First Base: Here I went with potential. It seemed to me that some of the logical choices, like Ryan Howard and Prince Fielder, were already playing as well as they are going to, while two 1B in particular seemed to offer the most potential for the remainder of the season: Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals and Lyle Overbay of the Pittsburgh Pirates. It seemed to me that Pujols, a former solid performer known for his consistency, was playing as well as he would be for the remainder of the year – that’s what consistency is all about, after all. Overbay, on the other hand, has clearly enjoyed better seasons and must clearly have his eyes set on a comeback. Therefore, given the choice between Pujols and Overbay, I asked myself, who would I rather have for the remainder of the season? So of course, I went with the obvious choice – Overbay.
Second base – Now, everyone knows I am a Pirates fan and we all know that the Pirates’ second baseman Neal Walker is having an All-Star year. However, I needed to weigh a number of factors and – oh forget it. I voted for Walker.
Third base – Here, I had to think hard. I looked closely at the ballot but the reality is all three of the top performers – Pedro Alvarez (Pirates), Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) and David Wright (Mets) - were on the disabled list! I therefore had to go with who was closest to returning, as they would be the healthiest for the All-Star game itself. Thus, my objective, impartial vote was for Pedro Alvarez, 2011 All Star of the Pittsburgh Pirates!
Shortstop – here I went with who was surpassing expectations. The three choices most often mentioned – Jose Reyes (Mets), Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies) and Hanley Ramirez (Marlins) were all playing below expectations. However, Ronald Cedeno (Pirates) was playing above expectations – WELL above expectations. I therefore voted for Ronald Cedeno (Pirates). He does seem to be doing well!
For the Outfield, two of the top three choices were fairly easy – Andrew McCutcheon (Pirates) and Jose Tabata (Pirates). However, I was a little concerned that Matt Diaz, like Ryan Doumit at the C position, was not listed. I was also a bit torn between Garrett Jones (Pirates) and Nate McLouth (Braves, but also EX-Pirates). While Jones is having an all-star year, well, I admit I always liked Nate McLouth and missed him on the Pirates. I also noticed that ex-Pirates Nyjer Morgan wasn’t even on the ballot! So my choices were: go with emotion and either write in Morgan or McLouth, or stick with my conviction to be impartial and objective, and go with Jones. (For the record, I also briefly considered a couple of the other players listed, like Holliday (Cardinals), Braun (Brewers) and Ethier (Dodgers), but if you ask yourself who you'd rather have as your All Star Game outfield - Holliday, Braun, and Ethier, or Jones, McLouth, and Morgan - then it's easy to see why I dismissed them).
Well, a blogger is nothing if not a man of conviction. So I stuck with my plan to be objective and impartial, and as tempted as I was to write in Morgan or maybe vote for McLouth, I did the right thing and of course, went with Garrett Jones – and wrote in Matt Diaz. Problem solved!
So, that’s how I went, and remember, it’s not too late to cast your ballots! Let’s get the Bucs the home-field advantage in the World Series! And as they say, vote early and vote often!